The City of Knoxville, Knoxville Police Department, and Bike Walk Knoxville recently launched the “Minimum Three in Tennessee” campaign, promoting awareness of the Three Foot Law.
This law requires drivers to maintain a distance of three feet when passing bicycles. As part of a research effort funded by the National Highway Safety Administration, the Knoxville Police Department received devices that measure the distance between bicycles and passing cars. Officers with these devices are alerted when a vehicle passes with less than three feet between them and the bicycle.
Enforcement of the law is important. Current data shows that 5% of motorists passing bicyclists in Knoxville are less than three feet away. Of those violations, 60% are less than two feet away, and 46% are less than a foot-and-a-half. Based on these numbers, every time a bicyclists rides, he or she is passed dangerously close at least once.